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Natural 20's Random Thought Table - A Statement Of Principles Print
Written by Brian Nisbet   
Jun 02, 2009 at 08:27 AM

Brian Nisbet takes some time to talk about his gaming beliefs, and specifically his beliefs about gaming in Ireland.

A Statement of Principles

As the lovely people at irishgaming.com have given me the opportunity to write a few articles for them, I felt it would be extremely rude not to, well, write some. So this is the first and I feel it is best to use it to, very briefly, introduce myself and lay out a few principles that I hold dear in relation to gaming. This is not specifically about running conventions or writing scenarios, it's an attempt to apply a few maxims to the hobby in general and to set the scene for other articles to come.

So, I'm Brian Nisbet. I've been gaming since the early 1980s and I went to my first con in 1990. Since then I've attended more cons than anyone I know, written quite a few scenarios and dabbled in professional games writing. I started being involved in running events in 1995 and I haven't looked back. I've also written quite a bit (and ranted in the real world) about Irish gaming, con running, scenario writing and gaming in general. My opinions are my own and I have many of them.

I believe that playing games is more important than talking about games. Now, don't get me wrong, I talk about games a lot, but that's a natural outgrowth of any hobby or obsession. However the moment the talking about part is bigger or more important than the playing then you're on the wrong track. As I mentioned, talking is an outgrowth, you can't talk about things without doing them and if you stop doing them then your thoughts and words get outmoded, they stop having relevance and the freshness can only be reclaimed by sitting down and actually playing.

I believe that gaming is the most socially inclusive hobby in the world. No, I'm not saying it’s some sort of socialist, liberal nirvana where everyone gets along with everyone else and there are no petty hatreds (or even real hatreds) or prejudices, but it does pretty well. I've seen people disliked or not included because of things they've said or done, but never on first sight and I've also seen people given chance after chance to sort themselves out. The big, obvious, issue with the last two sentences is the issue of gender. Women in gaming are still, sadly, fighting against stupid assumptions and misogyny too often. And for reference, "ever" is too often. The situation has improved dramatically in the twenty-six odd years I've been gaming, but, as with society in general, far more work is needed. That said, I think we're doing far better than the mainstream. But I'm a white male in his thirties, so I'm willing to admit my experience is not that of the usually socially excluded.

I believe that Irish gaming is one of the most vibrant, connected and interesting gaming communities in the world. We've managed to build up pretty strong ties amongst the various cities and clubs and when we get together we know how to play games, have fun, make friends, play more games, create, write and run world-famous conventions. What more do you want? Those ties require work and this will hopefully be something I get back to in a another article, but I'll leave it here for now.

Finally I believe that if you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong. Be that writing, organising or just sitting down to play, if it ever gets to the point when you feel you really don’t want to do it any more, then something is wrong. Maybe it's only a temporary thing, a lull in a campaign or a stressful organisational moment, but if it doesn't go away and if you can’t put your finger on the why, then step away. Take a break for an hour, a day, a year, re-evaluate what you’re doing and why and make sure that this hobby is fun for you. This is gaming, if it isn't fun then really, you're doing it wrong and who wants to do that?


User Comments

Comment by GUEST on 2015-12-21 00:11:24
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Comment by GUEST on 2016-05-18 03:29:03
Wow, total busy beaver, and that was a year ago. Can’t wait to catch up to see what’s going on in your Biz Empire in 2009, lol. What products are you selling w/3-4 biz;182#7&es?

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